The Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection has urged Government to resist and hold on to its 20 percent shares in Kansanshi Mine in the interest of the Country despite the attractiveness of getting additional liquidity which the country desperately needs.
The JCTR has noted that while some sections of Government have refuted the report, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe is reported to be aware of the offer and has even added that there are other unsolicited offers.
JCTR Head of Programmes Geoffrey Chongo says the impending sale is wrong as it is at variance with the will of the majority Zambians considering views from many people who have commented on the issue.
Mr. Chongo said with the challenges that Government has been facing to effectively tax mining companies, it is apparent to everyone that Government need to enhance its role in the management and exploitation of natural resources through increased shareholding for the benefit of the citizens.
He said the intended sale of Government stake thus is a departure from this realization and it is also a betrayal to the highly publicized PF pro-poor philosophy on which the party was voted into power as 100% private ownership of the Country’s strategic assets will not ensure this.
Mr. Chongo said private ownership has failed to raise sufficient tax revenues for the Government, to create sufficient jobs for the Zambian people and to respect the environment and Zambia should not be fooled or made to believe it will do so now.
He said Zambia’s experience with privation under the IMF supported Structural Adjustment Programme is a proof that privation is not a panacea to the Country’s sustainable development path.
Mr. Chongo said the Country is still reeling from the effects of surrendering assets in the hands of private hands whose sole motive is profit.
“A company like FQM cannot be trusted to have the interest of Zambians that we should surrender the Country’s assets to them. They have been threatening to dismiss over 2,500 employees due to a tax increase dispute with Government. They have also disputed the US$7.9 billion tax bill issued by the Zambia Revenue Authority following an audit. It will therefore be an act of naivety on the part of Government to entrust the entire Kansanshi mining assets in the hands of FQM”, he added.
Mr. Chongo said the valuation of the 20% shares at US$700 million for the Africa’s biggest Mining Company also raises a lot of concerns as they seem to be undervalued.
He said for a Company that is reported to be valued at around US$7.9 billion, 20% shares should cost over twice the current offer price by FQM.
Mr. Chongo said Zambia has been on this road of selling its valuable assets for a song and should not repeat to tread the same road adding that the PF Government is on record admitting that the US$25 million that Vedanta Resources PLC paid for KCM was insufficient.
He said it would therefore be hypocritical for Government to tread the same path of self-destruction that the Country has been recovering from since the privatization days.
Mr. Chongo added that the PF Government is actually on record of wanting to set up a commission of inquiry into the privatization process of Government assets.
“Government should further note that the percentage stake it holds in the Mines has enabled the it speak on behalf of the employees each time the Mines have threatened them with dismissal. Losing this stake would deny the government this voice for the Mines would be considered as 100% private and with a higher latitude to deal with workers as it wishes”, he said.
He said the workers in the Mines would be left defenceless and without a voice which would go against the PF Government’s mantra of ‘Not leaving anyone behind’.
Mr. Chongo said these shares are held on behalf of the Zambian people who are facing the brunt of unemployment, inequality and poverty and therefore great care must be taken in handling this issue.
He added that sustainable ways of benefiting from natural resources must be found and not short term solution and has urged Government to resists the allure of the few pieces of silver being offered by FQM and prioritize the Country’s interest first.
Our government is on auto pilot. This Minister of Mines says no such offer has been made, minister of finance says several offers have been made. This is a government that does not know whether they are going forward, backwards or sidewards. They only know how to retire civil servants in PF interest.
A lesson from China, where the Government has managed to steer targeted growth in a particular sector of the economy, has succeeded because of the significant role parastatals have in the economy. As Zambia, we at a point in development, where state intervention is required to start green fields and also further enhance development in particular sectors.
To do that we require sector players (where Government has influence) to move in and drive the development. Secondly, we need resources to do it, and the resources would mostly likely come from the same companies we have shares in.
So my submission, is that don’t sale, please.
Its futile advising a visionless reckless bum like Edgar…he is already writing out shopping list from that $700million…this is a simpleton from Chawama you are advising
Wasted years can’t wait for their time to expire soon so we can retire them in the people’s interest and get a real genuine government that knows what they are doing.
A good observation by JCTR. How I would love to see more organisations joining this including the church because this involves the welfare of Zambians. Where are those PF pastors who show up national day of prayer? What are saying about this.
Most of the citizens including organisations are docile!
Let us not underestimate our docility.
Though I wish and hope not, The sale will happen and the the citizenry docile bums will move on like nothing ever happened. Then they wonder why their orbit is always confined to their pit latrines.
The country is driven by compounds… Kanyama, Bauleni, Misisi, Mandevu, Linda, Gardeni etc… these are chaps who have been mis-educated and dis-educated through the years and voting through their bottttoooms and bellies.
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